About the Author
Shari Cohen was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After graduating from St. Louis Park High School, she attended the University of Minnesota where she majored in journalism. During that time, Shari began writing for fun, creating stories and scripts that involved her friends. In the mid 1970s, she moved to southern California where she began writing professionally.
Shari is the author of fourteen books for children and young adults, including Prime Time Rhyme, Macaroni and Fleas, Wild Wings: Planes, Rockets, and Spacecraft to Build and Fly, Draw Fantasy: Dragons, Centaurs, and Other Mythological Characters, and Future Wings: The step-By-Step Paper Spacecraft Book.
She has also written three self-help books for the Rosen Publishing Group in New York - Coping With Being Adopted, Coping With Failure, and Coping With Sibling Rivalry, followed by a young adult book she wrote with her husband Paul, A Career in Law Enforcement and Security. Her story "Patches of Time" was published in Na'amat magazine, and her children's tale "Cantor, Can You Hear Me?" appeared in Shofar magazine.
In 1998, Shari coauthored two books for the Rhyme Time Doodle Series: My Bubbe's Arms and My Dog is Jewish. She says she draws material for her poetry from the humor and warmth of shared experiences with her young readers.
In 2001, after moving near the California Coast, Shari was inspired to write the book Rhythm of the Sea, a collection of short stories that take place around the world waters.
In addition to writing books, Shari's stories have appeared in Family Circle, Woman's World,
Woman's Day, and Connect for Kids Online. Shari is also a contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.
About collaborating with Cantor Gindlin
- I heard that a Cantor had moved next door. It wasn't long before I heard his magnificent voice coming through his window as he practiced for the High Holiday Services. Over the following months, we became friends and talked often of our work and our desire to create material for children. We decided why not work together on a new book for Jewish families with songs to accompany the story? I had coauthored a children's book titled My Dog is Jewish. The response from Jewish children and their families had been amazing. I loved seeing kids stop and laugh in the middle of reading this book.
I was thinking of writing another story about a puppy who comes of age and has his Bark Mitzvah. If only the story could have songs attached, I thought. When Cantor Marcelo mentioned he was thinking about recording a new CD of songs for children, I knew immediately that it was "beshert."
About the Cantor
Cantor Marcelo Gindlin was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has lived in southern California for six years where he is the full-time Cantor of the Malibu Jewish Center & Synagogue. In addition to his certification as Hazzan & Ba'al Tefillah from the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary, he has two degrees in Music Therapy and has extensive experience as a teacher, composer, choir director, and performer.
He has published several scholarly papers in the field of Music Therapy for world conferences and seminars, and has organized shows, Hazzanim concerts, and special events. He's recorded a CD titled Tot Shabbat with Cantor Marcelo, which has won rave reviews from Jewish communities around the world including New Zealand, Argentina, Lithuania, Mexico, Israel, and Canada.
Cantor Gindlin has performed at the Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE)national conferences, in many different synagogues around the country, and recently performed a concert with the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony. He has taught at the University Of Judaism (Los Angeles) for the last 3 years. He is currently working on a a new CD for Shabbat and holidays.
About collaborating with Shari Cohen
- I have always believed that every creation of God has a soul. When I came to America from Argentina, I was delighted to see that pets are just as loved and part of the family here as they are in my native country. I've had so many people tell me that they feel their dog has a "Jewish soul." I knew what they meant. Our pets are present with us in feeling and spirit, sharing our lives together, from our daily routines to our most important celebrations.
I had just recorded a CD for children, Tot Shabbat with Cantor Marcelo, and was thinking about a new project to do for children. I met Shari, a children's book author and neighbor. When she shared her idea for a new book, one about a dog with a Jewish soul who comes of age and became a Bark Mitzvah, I new we would have a wonderful creation. Then Shari mentioned that she wished this book could have a CD of songs with it. We laughed when I began singing a tune for Alfie's Bark Mitzvah right there. We knew we had a beautiful story coming to life that would be enjoyed by children and families everywhere.
About the Illustrator
Nadia Komorova was born in Czechoslovakia and grew up in the heart of Europe, surrounded by its rich cultural history. She studied at the School of Applied Arts which had arisen from the Bauhaus School in Germany. She latter attended the Academy of Fine Arts and Design where she also studied classical piano (the music of the piano continues to fill her studio as she creates her paintings).
Nadia has an insatiable curiosity about the colors of light reflected in nature. In fact, her favorite interests are light and all that we cannot see but that which is essential for capturing on canvas the subjects of her paintings. She is intrigued by each of her subjects, drawn to their unique personalities and expressions. She is at home using any medium, but prefers the versatility and permanency of oils.
About the Publisher
Little Five Star, a division of Five Star Publications, publishes books exclusively for children. Their mission is to help authors create books that will help children understand the implications of their life choices and help them become more tolerant and accepting of the differences in people.
Founded by company president Linda Radke, Five Star Publications has its own interesting history. "My mother grew up in a family of nine brothers and sisters," Ms. Radke explains. "Five of the family, including my mother served in World War II. During the war, parents who had sons or daughters in the service displayed stars in their window - one for each child. It was a patriotic gesture and also expressed the deep hope that each would return home safely. One of my mother's brothers was captured and held as a prisoner of war. Fortunately, all five eventually returned home," she adds. "My Uncle Art used the name 'Five Star' when he opened his first grocery store in Indiana. Five stars became the symbol of my mom's family and is carried on in my company."